The Community Notification Registry is More than a Hit list for just Murderers.

Everyone quotes  the Department of Justice study done in 1997 that looked at offenders released in 1994. The government has rehashed the study and done their best to make sex offenders look bad. This study was re-evaluated in 2001, 2002, and again in 2003 for the governments part. They like to point to the fact that  5.3% (517) of the 9,691 sex offenders released in 1994, were rearrested for a new sex crime, then they grudgingly admit that 3.5% (339) were reconvicted in a new sex crime. Since the government has been so kind as to point this 3.5% out, what they have overlooked is the fact that 34% of all the former sex offenders who were arrested, were not reconvicted and many of those were likely falsely accused. So over one-third of the people that are on the registry and charged with a new sex crime, may have likely been falsely accused.

Once a person has been convicted of sexually related crime and has their name posted on community notification they become easy targets for not only for vigilante murderers, but also all other types of vigilantes, including those that choose to falsely accuse them of new crimes. Fully one-third of the people arrested were able to prove their innocence, but I’m quite sure that a large number who were accused were never arrested simply because the accusations were so obviously false.

Any time that a group comes out with a study and tries to use the percentage of arrests to justify a high re-offense rate this point needs to be brought to the forefront, because in this country, unless you’re found guilty beyond reasonable doubt of a crime, you have not committed one.

9 comments for “The Community Notification Registry is More than a Hit list for just Murderers.

  1. Anonymous
    November 3, 2015 at 3:49 pm

    I have noticed that many in my area are not charged for a sex offense, but for failure to notify the state or local police of their NEW Address. I often wonder if failure to do so was simply out of fear of Vigilantism and for their own Safety and Well Being. I myself are enduring that as we speak and frankly, the Law don’t care until something happens.
    I have went as far as calling the Human Rights and the Civil Rights local office and the answer i received was, “Well, sometimes you have to break the law in order to defend yourself” seriously??

  2. Victoria
    November 3, 2015 at 4:34 pm

    You’re right, I’ve looked back at several studies and literally every single report included statistics on arrests. While most also included separate numbers for convictions, the highlighted data was often from arrests.
    Until found guilty in a court of law ~ there is the presumption of innocence… at least that is what I thought

    Interestingly there was a significant number of those arrests and/or convictions from individuals on the registry which had nothing at all to do with a sex offense. Offenses sometimes included theft, drugs or bodily violence.

    Consider an individual on the registry, their restrictions often restrict many social activities, limit where individuals may travel, law enforcement representatives notify neighbors, and even employers on the individuals “horrific” crime. Time after time, the registrant is let go, gets harassed at their home, and friends and neighbors turn their backs. This happens time after time.

    This individual may have made ONE mistake one time in their life, they paid a hefty fine, served time in prison and have participated in counseling. Truly sorry and ashamed, trying desperately to move on with their lives put their past behind them….

    Imagine what happens time after time the registered individual is asked to move, harassed by neighbors, and “let go” from one job after another… depression… could drugs be to self medicate…. violence… was the individual protecting him/herself from a vigilante? Of course the police would believe the vigilante over the “sex offender”

    Are courts more likely to convict an individual on the registry of any crime they are charged with?

    What if you had to pay for the rest of your life.. for one mistake…

  3. Alan Davis
    November 4, 2015 at 7:29 am

    Not only are those who are listed on the registry often falsely accused, but many of those who are on the registry, were also falsely accused and chose to accept a plea with no idea that this would lead to being put on the sex offender registry with life-long punishment.

    Many would say, “Why would anyone take a plea for a crime they didn’t commit? ” Here is a related post from about a year ago about False Accusations.

    http://sosen.org/blog/2014/04/18/false-accusations.html

    • Scott
      November 6, 2015 at 5:59 pm

      If you say you did This and This and That we will talk about a plea deal. First time offenders or those who have never had any run ins with the law have no clue what their rights are at the time of arrest or questioning. Some basically sign their life away until the lawyer shows up. By then it is already too late. Sometimes your miranda isn’t read to you until after you’re questioned. Now it is up to you to invoke them on your own.

      • Paul
        November 12, 2015 at 2:43 pm

        Most of the time Miranda isn’t read until after you are questioned. And many times the questioning comes when they make you feel as though you can’t leave even though technically, you are not in custody. One wonders why half the time, Miranda even applies since most of the questioning usually comes before an arrest anyway.

  4. Guy
    November 4, 2015 at 12:01 pm

    “Fully one-third of the people arrested were able to prove their innocence, but I’m quite sure that a large number who were accused were never arrested simply because the accusations were so obviously false.”

    I’m on board with the notion that it seems likely rates of false accusations and confessions increase when someone is on the registry, but this statement that one third of the people in the DOJ study were able to prove their innocence doesn’t square with the data.

    It just means that they weren’t re-convicted of a new sexual offense. There are plenty of reasons why someone might be arrested and not convicted. One of those reasons is certainly going to trial and being found not guilty, but even that is not proving one’s innocence — it’s simply being found not guilty. On the other end of the spectrum, it’s also possible that someone who was rearrested was guilty of another sexual offense, but due to (perhaps) evidentiary concerns, unwillingness of victims to testify, the individual may have been allowed to plead to a non-sexual offense and thereby not be classified as a recidivist in the DOJ data. Those are just a couple possibilities.

    Don’t get me wrong — I’m on board with the notion that being on a registry makes one a target for false accusations given the commonly-held belief that re-offense is inevitable. IIRC, Texas’ version of Megan’s law was based on a case where the purported sex offender perpetrator turned out to be innocent.

    I don’t think it’s an accurate assessment of the data, however, to assert that anyone who was arrested but not convicted was able to prove their innocence. That is, essentially, biting off more than the data can chew.

    • Will Bassler
      November 5, 2015 at 11:39 am

      first of all the reason for the existence of the registry is the high propensity for people that are placed on it to reoffend in the same type of crime in 1994 study done in 97 specifically looked at new sex crimes when they indicated 5.3% rearrest it really doesn’t matter if these people were reconnected of a lesser crime or not if it was not sexually related there is a simple rule of thumb when dealing with all these studies never take them at face value always disassembled them and look at all the data the 1997 study is a prime example of this and has been discussed on SOSEN before http://sosen.org/blog/2014/11/06/why-are-the-reconviction-rates-so-important.html

      the bottom line is the fact that unsubstantiated and unconfirmed information should not be used in making political decisions and passing laws and these laws were based on the fact that there was a high re-offense rate somewhere between 60 and 80% in new sex crimes that number has now been disproven even by government agencies and the fact is when you look at the entire registry and the re-offense rate for over 850,000 people committing a new sexually related crime the re-offense rate is less than 1% makes a little hard to justify the existence of the registry at all and go back through the prior articles on SOSEN and look at the information provided

  5. Paul
    November 4, 2015 at 3:14 pm

    I totally agree with everything you guys have said. You don’t need to be an Einstein to figure out that ostracism doesn’t lead to lower crime rates or healthy integration back into one’s community. As long as we try to be a “pre-crime” society where we punish people based on what we think they are going to do versus what they have done, community notification isn’t going anywhere. I say we should do it the old fashioned way. Someone is punished, they pay their debt and then he or she is able to move on with their lives. In a world of psychological profiling and Minority Report styled “pre-crime”, we’re doomed from the start. After all, safety of the community is what led the Supreme Court to abandon the constitution in Smith V. Doe. The feared danger of an individual is what drives these laws. Some day, they’ll want to start doing MRI’s to determine the psychological makeup of each citizen by mapping everyone’s brain.

  6. Paul
    November 4, 2015 at 6:52 pm

    And one word on false arrests since I failed to address that point, it does happen. It’s easy to arrest the most despised member of society based on scantly clad evidence but ultimately, the 3.5% statistic gives me a little faith that in a court of law, the scales of justice balance out. But if any registered citizen thinks they are immune to a false arrest thinking that doing everything to the letter of the law shields them from it, they are badly mistaken.

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